Identification and characterisation of ‘unconventional’ hydrogen bonding within supramolecular systems: ‘Mesoscale’ crystallography is highly topical – i.e. characterising systems which are larger than conventional ‘small molecules’ yet smaller than most biological macromolecules whilst still displaying many ‘protein-type’ experimental problems. Supramolecular chemists will be able to examine the detailed nature of unusual and surprising hydrogen bonds in their macromolecular context. Applications range from large supramolecular capsules for molecular encapsulation and as nano-reaction chambers, hydrogen bond-mediated anion sensors and framework materials for chemical separations.
Characterisation of framework atoms (incl. H), cavities and molecular guests within metal-organic supermolecules and framework materials: Recently a number of systems have been designed based upon metal centres of well-defined coordination geometry as nodes linked together by fairly rigid ligands to produce either nanoscale (1-10 nm) supermolecules or infinite framework materials with large cavities for encapsulation of guest molecules. The potential applications of these materials range from chemical sensors, porous materials for separations, to novel heterogeneous catalysts with designed active site cavities and some very promising candidates for gas sorption, including hydrogen storage.